LOUISBURG, N.C. (WNCN) — Franklin County Sheriff Kevin White said a major manhunt is underway for Dollar General robbery suspects who he said shot at deputies Wednesday night.

White said deputies had surveillance set up at a Dollar General at 5977 N.C. 561 when they spotted a suspicious vehicle.

The suspects exited the vehicle and tried to enter the store, White said.

Deputies approached the suspects who returned to their car and opened fire at the deputies, according to White.

Deputied continued to chase the suspects until they got to a “darkly wooded” area.

The sheriff said the suspects, who he described as “vicious animals,” are armed and dangerous. He is asking people not to approach them and to call 911 immediately if they see something suspicious.

“I want to thank our extremely brave and dedicated team for working throughout the night and into the morning. I would also like to thank our friends and fellow officers from the surrounding state and local agencies who are assisting in this hunt,” White said

The sheriff is confident the suspects will be found and the sheriff’s office will “lock them in a cage where they belong.”

Wednesday night’s incident comes on the heels of two armed robberies at two Dollar Generals in Louisburg on Sunday and Tuesday.

The Sunday robbery happened at the store at 4078 N.C. 56 East and the Tuesday one at 3725 NC 39 North, the sheriff’s office said. Both robberies happened around 9 p.m.